“It starts with Zero, and it ends at Zero.”
Just finished playing MGS4, and I’m left dumbstruck. A blabbering mess, yet I must pen down my thoughts. The terms epic and awesome does not really do justice to the game. MGS4 though, is more than just a game: It’s a homage to the Metal Gear series. This is Hideo Kojima’s magnum opus: Guns of the Patriots is the long goodbye to an old friend, Solid Snake.
Accusing me of spoilers yet?
Rather than just describe MGS4 as a game, one could also call it an “interactive movie”, given the huge amounts of cutscenes, in comparison to the playing time. Unforgiveable for most other games, but understandable, and even appreciated in this instance. Too many loose ends, too many twists, and too much questions to be answered. That being said, perhaps I finally understand what Kojima said in a previous article, highlighting the limitations of the PS3 engine in designing the perfect MGS4. Then again, that’s nitpicking.
90 minute cutscenes? Not really, but the epilogue is LONG, and prepare yourself for a few jaw-drops.
The Metal Gear series has always prided itself on being a tactical espionage game, i.e. sneaking around instead of killing. However, you get more freedom in MGS4; in fact, you’re encouraged (in)directly to kill, for a variety of reasons: Swarming enemies, huge machines, Uber weapons and a constant anxiety in wanting to know what comes next. As I’ve mentioned previously, aiming and shooting’s a bitch, but it gets much easier when you adapt to it. Boss fights as usual are insane and brilliantly contrived, but the real gem is the ability of the game to bring across the intensity of the emotions of the characters. Key to this is the haunting music, which adds much depth to the atmosphere.
Did you know? The in-game ipod restores health if you listen to it at low stress levels. Everyone knows about the effects of cigarettes in the game though.
Homages/references are plenty; taken from other games, from the franchise itself. You could call it a parody; you could call it a brilliant adaptation/incorporation, whatever it is, it is very obvious, especially to hardcore fans. In fact, to me, the third Act was the best; brought tears to my eyes with all those references to older game in the franchise. For those unacquainted with the series, but are contemplating buying the game, a simple read-up on the story thus far by googling would suffice. Content is really not that hard to follow, but this being the last of the Metal Gear series (apparently), there has to be closure, hence explaining the lengthy cutscenes. In fact, I took about slightly over 20 hours to finish everything.
Tips? Don’t play alone, play it with a friend. There are just certain parts where two heads work better than one. I played through the game with my friend too.
Lastly, the characters. Beautiful, seductive and sexy. For the female characters of course. In-game detail is as good as those in the cut-scene; a pity I didn’t really spend time exploring the maps and trying out all the features in the game. Just for information, all the previous major Metal Gear characters will appear in the game, somehow or another. What do i mean by this? I don’t know, you’ll have to play the game for yourself. =)
I’ll end this post with a spoiler: Snake dies, and the game acknowledges as much at the title screen cutscene. Don’t press start, and watch carefully.
This was written at 3am this morning, when I just completed the game. Anyway, I’m currently replaying the game, on a higher difficulty level. Being the bastard I am, I should just let all readers know that MGS4 is very depressing, and very sad, since ALL major characters die.
Please go get the game and play it. Going back to Outer Haven.
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